Encrypted Guix GNU+Linux

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To provide step-by-step guide for setting up guix system (stand-alone guix) with full disk encryption (including /boot) on devices powered by Libreboot.


Any users, for their generalised use cases, need not stumble away from this guide to accomplish the setup.

Advanced users, for deviant use cases, will have to explore outside this guide for customisation; although this guide provides information that is of paramount use.



In your current GNU+Linux System, open terminal as root user.

Insert USB drive and get the USB device name /dev/sdX, where “X” is the variable to make a note of.


Unmount the USB drive just in case if it’s auto-mounted.

umount /dev/sdX

Download the latest (a.b.c) Guix System ISO Installer Package (sss) and it’s GPG Signature; where “a.b.c” is the variable for version number and “sss” is the variable for system architecture.

wget https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/guix/guix-system-install-a.b.c.sss-linux.iso.xz

wget https://ftp.gnu.org/gnu/guix/guix-system-install-a.b.c.sss-linux.iso.xz.sig

Import required public key.

gpg --keyserver pool.sks-keyservers.net --recv-keys 3CE464558A84FDC69DB40CFB090B11993D9AEBB5

Verify the GPG Signature of the downloaded package.

gpg --verify guix-system-install-a.b.c.sss-linux.iso.xz.sig

Extract the ISO Image from the downloaded package.

xz -d guix-system-install-a.b.c.sss-linux.iso.xz

Write the extracted ISO Image to the USB drive.

dd if=guix-system-install-a.b.c.sss-linux.iso of=/dev/sdX; sync

Reboot the device.



On reboot, as soon as you see the Libreboot Graphic Art, press arrow keys to change the menu entry.

Choose “Search for GRUB2 configuration on external media [s]” and wait for the Guix System from USB drive to load.

Set your keyboard layout lo, where “lo” is the two-letter keyboard layout code (example: us or uk).

loadkeys lo

Unblock network interfaces (if any).

rfkill unblock all

Get the names of your network interfaces.

ifconfig -a

Bring your required network interface nwif (wired or wireless) up, where “nwif” is the variable for interface name. For wired connections, this should be enough.

ifconfig nwif up

For wireless connection, create a configuration file using text editor, where “fname” is the variable for any desired filename.

nano fname.conf

Choose, type and save ONE of the following snippets, where ‘nm’ is the name of the network you want to connect, ‘pw’ is the corresponding network’s password or passphrase and ‘un’ is user identity.

For most private networks:



For most public networks:



For most organisational networks:


Connect to the configured network, where “fname” is the filename and “nwif” is the network interface name.

wpa_supplicant -c fname.conf -i nwif -B

Assign an IP address to your network interface, where “nwif” is the network interface name.

dhclient -v nwif

Obtain the device name /dev/sdX in which you would like to deploy and install Guix System, where “X” is the variable to make a note of.


Wipe the respective device. Wait for the command operation to finish.

dd if=/dev/urandom of=/dev/sdX; sync

Load device-mapper module in the current kernel.

modprobe dm_mod

Partition the respective device. Just do, GPT –> New –> Write –> Quit; defaults will be set.

cfdisk /dev/sdX

Encrypt the respective partition.

cryptsetup -v --cipher serpent-xts-plain64 --key-size 512 --hash whirlpool --iter-time 500 --use-random --verify-passphrase luksFormat /dev/sdX1

Obtain and note down the “LUKS UUID”.

cryptsetup luksUUID /dev/sdX1

Open the respective encrypted partition, where “partname” is any desired partition name.

cryptsetup luksOpen /dev/sdX1 partname

Make filesystem on the respective partition, where “fsname” is any desired filesystem name.

mkfs.btrfs -L fsname /dev/mapper/partname

Mount the respective filesystem under the current system.

mount LABEL=fsname /mnt

Create a btrfs-supported NOCOW swap file with no compression and make it readable cum writable only by root.

touch /mnt/swapfile`

chattr +C /mnt/swapfile`

btrfs property set /mnt/swapfile compression none`

dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/swapfile bs=1MiB count=2048

chmod 600 /mnt/swapfile

mkswap /mnt/swapfile

swapon /mnt/swapfile


Make the installation packages to be written on the respective mounted filesystem.

herd start cow-store /mnt

Create the required directory.

mkdir /mnt/etc

Create, edit and save the configuration file by typing the following code snippet. WATCH-OUT for variables in the code snippet and replace them with your relevant values.

nano /mnt/etc/config.scm


    (gnu system nss))
    (host-name "hostname")
    (timezone "Zone/SubZone")
    (locale "ab_XY.1234")
                    (inherit grub-bootloader)
                    (installer #~(const #t))))
            (keyboard-layout keyboard-layout)))
                    (uuid "luks-uuid"))
                    (target "partname")
                    (type luks-device-mapping))))
                        (file-system-label "fsname"))
                    (mount-point "/")
                    (type "btrfs")
                    (dependencies mapped-devices)))
                    (name "username")
                    (comment "Full Name")
                    (group "users")
                    (supplementary-groups '("wheel" "netdev" "audio" "video" "lp" "cdrom" "tape" "kvm"))))
                (extra-special-file "/usr/bin/env"
                    (file-append coreutils "/bin/env"))
                        (keyboard-layout keyboard-layout)))
                (service gnome-desktop-service-type))
    (name-service-switch %mdns-host-lookup-nss))

Initialise new Guix System.

guix system init /mnt/etc/config.scm /mnt

Reboot the device.



On reboot, as soon as you see the Libreboot Graphic Art, choose the option ‘Load Operating System [o]’

Enter LUKS Key, for Libreboot’s grub, as prompted.

You may have to go through warning prompts by repeatedly pressing the “enter/return” key.

You will now see guix’s grub menu from which you can go with the default option.

Enter LUKS Key again, for kernel, as prompted.

Upon GNOME Login Screen, login as “root” with password field empty.

Open terminal from the GNOME Dash.

Set passkey for “root” user. Follow the prompts.

passwd root

Set passkey for “username” user. Follow the prompts.

passwd username

Update the guix distribution. Wait for the process to finish.

guix pull

Update the search paths.

export PATH="$HOME/.config/guix/current/bin:$PATH"

export INFOPATH="$HOME/.config/guix/current/share/info:$INFOPATH"

Update the guix system. Wait for the process to finish.

guix system reconfigure /etc/config.scm

Reboot the device.



Everything should be stream-lined from now. You can follow your regular boot steps without requiring manual intervention. You can start logging in as regualar user with the respective “username”.

You will have to periodically (at your convenient time) login as root and do the update/upgrade part of post-installation section, to keep your guix distribution and guix system updated.

That is it! You have now setup guix system with full-disk encryption on your device powered by Libreboot. Enjoy!


[1] Guix Manual (http://guix.gnu.org/manual/en/).


[1] Thanks to Guix Developer, Clement Lassieur (clement@lassieur.org), for helping me with the Guile Scheme Code for the Bootloader Configuration.

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